Restraint use and age and sex characteristics of persons involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes

Brian Ho Yin Lee*, Joseph L. Schofer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The lap and shoulder belt combination can reduce the risk of fatal motor vehicle crash injuries to front-seat occupants by 45 % and the risk of moderate-to-critical injuries by 50%. The significant life- and cost- saving potentials of these restraining devices, installed in virtually every vehicle in the United States, are well recognized, but the benefits come only from their actual use. Identified are two demographic characteristics of unrestrained persons involved in fatal crashes, age and sex, to provide a basis for targeting educational and promotional efforts to encourage restraint use among the most vulnerable groups. Analyses are based on 1996 to 2000 crash data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, compared with exposure data from the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey. This study found that the risk of sustaining fatal injuries in a vehicle crash is reduced by 54% when occupant restraints are used. A much higher proportion of young males in the 16 to 19 and 20 to 24 age groups involved in fatal crashes do not use restraints, about 1.72 and 1.69 times greater, respectively, than those who do use restraints. While females in these age groups are also overrepresented, the extent of this excess is less than that of males. This underscores the need to find ways to educate young people, especially young males, about the benefits of restraint use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1830
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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